Former leader of the defunct Niger Delta Volunteer Force, (NDVF) Asari Dokubo on Friday, met with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, where he revealed how oil bunkering activities thrive in the south south region.
Dokubo, in a no holds back expose, said top military personnel particularly the army and navy are the worst culprit in terms of aiding and abetting bunkering activities.
He alleged that the military usually intimidate the police and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC who are mandated to guard the pipelines.
Dokubo, however, said because of his closeness with the President, he would work with the administration to bring the menace in the oil-rich and attacks on oil facilities in Niger Delta to zero level.
The former Niger Delta agitator, who debunked claims that people from the oil-rich region were those involved in oil-theft and pipelines vandalism, argued that ordinary citizens who are often blamed for these criminal activities are not responsible as they do not have the wherewithal to carry out such massive scale stealing.
He said these notorious Army and Naval oil kingpins have been engaged in stealing of crude oil in an unprecedented scale in the last eight years.
According to him, the way the oil thieves have gone about their criminal activities has stripped the people of the Niger Delta of their livelihood, noting that it is a crime against humanity.
“The president is a fatherly figure to me. Our relationship spans over 30 years. I came here today to give words of encouragement to the President for the actions and policies so far made in this less than three weeks of governing a very difficult country like Nigeria.
“We discussed on wide range of issues, especially on security and oil thief in the Niger Delta. Myself and my brothers, have assured the President that there would be zero oil theft and vandalization in the Niger Delta. We’re going to work with an NNPC, PCN and the IOCs to make sure that oil theft is brought to zero.
“I also want to say that oil theft is encouraged by the military. The military is at the center of oil theft and we have to make this very, very clear to the Nigerian public. 99% of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the army and the navy especially.
“The Army and the Navy intimidate the Civil Defence, who are by status, the people who are supposed to guard these pipelines. They receive a lot of money from NNPCL and the IOCs and just across the corner, you will see a houseboat a few meters from the house boat, you will see an oil bunkering refinery or tapping directly from oil well ends.”
But the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, described the allegation as “spurious and unguarded”.
He said oil thieves were angry because troops of Nigerian Navy and entire military have continued to deny them avenues to sabotage economy through ongoing “Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO”.
He maintained that the maritime armed force in collaboration with relevant stakeholders would continue to deny crude oil thieves avenues to sabotage Nigeria’s economy.Ayo-Vaughan, in an interview with Daily Trust, said “Let him bring the names. The Nigerian Navy is interested in the names of those involved because the Navy has no tolerance for any form of criminalities whatsoever, not even that height of theft as alleged by Asari Dokubo.“
The Navy has an operation in the Niger-Delta that has been running for over one year plus to curb oil theft. Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO has denied oil thieves more than N76billion worth of crude oil. The money that would have helped them to further increase their illegal artisanal refineries.
“So, the Navy is actively fighting oil theft. For anybody to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. He (Dokubo) is in the Niger Delta, he has boys in the Niger Delta.“The company that was given a contract by the NNPC on pipeline surveillance, they are working with the Nigerian Navy and Operation Delta Safe in the Niger-Delta to curb oil theft.“For somebody to just make such unguarded statement, bring the names. You know that there is an operation (Operation DAKATA BARAWO) going on in the Niger Delta being run by the Nigerian Navy since April last year. The Navy has been running it in synergy with the NNPC.
“NNPC holds regular meetings with the Chief of Naval Staff to review the operations. Just last week, the Chief Executive of NUPREC was here to have a meeting with CNS. Just two days ago, the management team for the other one on downstream regulatory authority were also here to have a meeting. For us, if you want to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. Simple.”